A Review of the Newgy Robo-Pong 2050 Table Tennis Robot

01
of 09

Newgy Robo-Pong 2050 Table Tennis Robot - Review

Photo of Newgy Robo-Pong 2050 table tennis robot - front view
Newgy Robo-Pong 2050 table tennis robot - front view. © 2012 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The Robo-Pong 2050 is Newgy's flagship ping-pong robot, with all the bells and whistles you could ever want. With a price tag of around the $700 to $800 mark at the time of this review, it is not cheap. But it's nowhere near the cost of the Butterfly Amicus 3000, either. It is a fantastic value for money. 

It's programmable, reliable, easy to setup, simple to use, transportable, can provide high speed and spin, oscillates, has plenty of ball capacity, and most importantly, does a great job of feeding the balls consistently.

It's great for basement players, advanced players and coaches.Perhaps the only players who might not find it useful are those who need a robot where the speed and spin of the ball are decoupled, so that spinny short serves can be simulated, float balls can be produced, and slow spinny balls and fast-but-not-spinny balls can be projected. These things are nice to have, but require a second projection wheel that runs independently of the first wheel, and greatly increase the cost of robots that have this capability (such as the Butterfly Amicus 3000 Plus, the Prakttismate PK1 and PK2, the TW2700 series, and the XuShaoFa robot) .

02
of 09

Newgy Robo-Pong 2050 Specifications

Photo of Newgy Robo-Pong 2050 table tennis robot - side/back view
Newgy Robo-Pong 2050 table tennis robot - side/back view. © 2012 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Interestingly enough, for a robot that comes with a very comprehensive set of manuals there isn't any easy to find a listing of the Robo-Pong 2050 specifications. Most of the tech specs are mentioned on the Newgy website in the Features and FAQs sections.

Weight: Around 20 pounds
Max ball frequency: From 85 to 170 balls per minute, depending on the model.
Max ball speed: 65 to 75 mph
Max ball RPM: Unknown, but at max settings, it's as heavy (or heavier) than any loop drive
Ball Capacity: 120 balls (although I'm pretty sure it could handle more).
Programmable Drills: Up to 64 drills, 32 are not changeable, the other 32 can be changed or overwritten, and returned to factory settings if desired.
Spin Capability: Topspin, backspin, or sidespin. Can combine sidespin with topspin or backspin. Requires the player to manually rotate the robot head to adjust the spin type.
Warranty: 30-day unconditional money-back guarantee, Limited one=year warranty ( product to be free from defects in material and workmanship for one year from date of purchase), Five--year service policy.
Oscillation Ability: Yes, excellent table coverage.
Robot Adjustable: Yes, can tilt robot head up or down to change throw angle. Can also use the separately available Robo-Caddy (a separate robot stand) to change the height of the robot, and move it away from the table.
Remote Control: Yes, easy to use, with a bracket to attach the remote to the table near the player.
Recycle Balls: Yes, automatic ball recycling. Collection net is included with the 2050 model.

03
of 09

Newgy Robo-Pong 2050 - Setup & Takedown

Photo of Newgy Robo-Pong 2050 - Folded Up for Storage/Transport
Newgy Robo-Pong 2050 - Folded Up for Storage/Transport. © 2012 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The Newgy Robo-Pong 2050 is a breeze to setup and takedown. Watch the supplied DVD that comes with the robot first -- it explains the process clearly and succinctly.

It takes five to 10 minutes to set up the Robo-Pong 2050 the first time you use it. You can see from the photograph that it all folds up quite neatly. There is also an additional Robo-Tote Carry Case that you can purchase separately, which is basically a carry bag that encloses the robot and provides a convenient handle for transport. Not an essential item if you are using it at home only, but nifty for coaches who are carrying the robot around to different locations. It's about $60.

Mobility

Be careful when transporting it by car as it is kind of tall, and might be prone to tip over if you put it on a car seat and brake sharply. 

04
of 09

Manuals and DVDs

Photo of Newgy Robo-Pong 2050 - Manuals
Newgy Robo-Pong 2050 - Manuals. © 2012 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The Newgy Robo-Pong 2050 comes with plenty of materials to help you get the most out of the robot.

First of all, there is the Owner's DVD, which is probably where you should start. Narrated and demonstrated by USA table tennis elite player Brian Pace (who does a very good job, he is very clear and easy to follow), it does an excellent job of explaining how to set up and take down the robot properly, and how to use the robot in Normal mode, Drill Mode, PC mode (where drills can be created, modified, uploaded and downloaded), as well as the setup features of the robot.

You'll also want to check out the Newgy Robo-Pong Training Manual, as a beginner's guide like this is a good idea to help newbies get started on the right foot.

05
of 09

Newgy Robo-Pong 2050: Remote Control

Photo of Newgy Robo-Pong 2050 - Remote Control
Newgy Robo-Pong 2050 - Remote Control. © 2012 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Much of the usefulness of the Newgy Robo-Pong 2050 revolves around its remote controller, pictured here attached to the side of the table via its bracket.

If you have a table with a large side apron, you may find it impossible to simply slip the bracket on the side of the table as demonstrated in the DVD. In that case, try going where the net attaches to the table, and you should find that you can now slip the bracket on the table at this point, and then slide it down towards the endline of the table.

Fortunately, it is , that the folks at Newgy have spent a lot of time, effort and brainpower in coming up with a remote control menu interface that is easy to understand and work with. You can switch between Normal mode (where the player is able to set up a ball sequence of his choice in seconds) and Drill mode (where the player is able to use pre-programmed drills that are stored in the remote control) in the press of a button or two.

The explanation of all the features of these two modes takes up several pages of the manual, so I'm not even going to attempt to repeat that here. But here's a high-level snapshot of what is available in each mode:

Normal Mode

In this mode, you have the ability to set a number of factors to your preference.

  • Ball speed/spin: From very slow and no spin, to very fast and very spinny (they are linked together).
  • Ball positioning: The left-most position you want to throw the ball to, and the right-most position you want to throw the ball to (there are 21 positions, from far left to far right). You can leave them both the same, in which case the ball will go to the same place each time, set a left and right value with no oscillation, in which case the ball will alternate between the left and right positions, or even have Oscillation Random turned on, in which cause the ball will be sent randomly anywhere between the left and right positions. It only takes a couple of seconds to switch between these three modes.
  • Wait time: You can set a wait time between balls that suits you, and change it with a button press. This works very well for fine tuning the drill you have set up, so that you get the timing just right.
  • Count/Time options: You can set the robot to throw out a certain number of balls by counting down from a preset number, or by setting a time limit. These are linked together by the amount of wait time you have chosen; if you have a wait of one second set up, then you can choose to throw out 30 balls or set up a time limit of 30 seconds, and the results will be the same, you'll get 30 balls in 30 seconds.
  • Finally, you can randomize the speed, oscillation and wait settings. Basically, for speed and wait you can set a limiting value for either (or both) within which the robot will vary from the basic set value (both faster and slower). This actually proved to be a very useful feature, because using the randomize settings really forces you to concentrate much harder, as the ball isn't coming in a set rhythm. Add the oscillate random feature as well, and the constant changes in speed, depth, side to side placement and time between shots really keeps you on your toes and prevents you from just going through the motions. 

Drill Mode

The Drill Mode is similar to Normal Mode, but it uses 64 pre-programmed drills that the player can choose from. These drills vary from beginner level to very advanced level but fortunately, even the hardest of the drills can be manually adjusted with a couple of button presses to slow down the speed and spin on the ball or give you more time between shots. You can also set the number of times the drill sequence will repeat, or the length of time the drill will run for, which is nice.

The manual gives a diagram listing of all the drills, but there is also a preview mode on the remote control that lets you check where the drill will throw the balls (although you need to be watching carefully, it previews quite fast).

There are 64 drills that a preset on the remote control. The first 32 cannot be changed, while the second 32 can be modified or replaced. 

06
of 09

Newgy Robo-Pong 2050: Ball Return and Ball Capacity

Newgy Robo-Pong 2050 - Ball Return and Ball Capacity
Newgy Robo-Pong 2050 - Ball Return and Ball Capacity. © 2012 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.

According to the Newgy website, the Robo-Pong 2050 is capable of handling around 120 balls at a time. It doesn't jam too much. Be a little careful when removing the side net attachers; these use a corrugated teeth system to hold them in place on your normal net. It's very easy to not pay attention and lift the attachers up while they are still gripping the mesh of your net. Do this too forcefully and you'll be looking for a new net. Do this properly and you won't have a problem.

07
of 09

Newgy Robo-Pong 2050: Ball Projection Head

© 2012 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.

This is a close-up view of the ball projection head and the ball feed tube. You can see the various settings for topspin, sidespin, and backspin on the front of the projection head, which is rotated so that the desired setting is on the top of the circle. Note that you can rotate the head to any setting in between, not just the four that are labeled, so it's possible to get different mixtures of backspin and sidespin, or topspin and sidespin.

One thing to watch out for is the cord that is attached to the robot head. Newgy is careful to point out several times that you should not rotate the head in such a way that the cord gets wound around the projection head -- the cord must be kept free. This is simple to do, and just requires a minimum of paying attention when rotating the head.

08
of 09

Newgy Robo-Pong 2050: Robo-Soft Software

Photo of Newgy Robo-Pong 2050 - Robo-Soft Software
Newgy Robo-Pong 2050 - Robo-Soft Software. © 2012 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The Robo-Soft software that comes with the Robo-Pong 2050 looked kind of complicated in the user manual, but using the software is really pretty easy for anybody with some basic computer experience.

09
of 09

Newgy Robo-Pong 2050: Robot to Table Attachment

Photo of Newgy Robo-Pong 2050 - Robot to Table Attachment
Newgy Robo-Pong 2050 - Robot to Table Attachment. © 2012 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.

This is another view of the attachment mechanism for the robot. As you can see, the plate goes over the endline of the table at the center line mark, and the two hooks go under the table, using the weight of the robot to hold it in place.